We often come across online stores that seem to have great products, but we don’t feel confident enough to shop from them. It could be because we’ve never heard of them before, their deals look too good to be true, or something about the site makes us uncomfortable. Here’s a checklist of items to assess before you decide to make your purchase at such online stores.
- Does the site look authentic?
Anybody can set up a website and pretend to sell stuff, so how do you know that you are dealing with a real store? An authentic e-store should look professional and well-designed. Check the “About Us” page for store background and team, how long they have been around, and other details that they share about themselves. If this is sketchy, there may be cause for doubt.
- Product displays
Are the products displayed with complete information? Whether branded or non-branded products, there should be clear images accompanied with detailed characteristics and informative descriptions. If you only see an image with a price, there is likely to be a gap between what you think you are buying and the actual product.
- Do other people purchase from this store?
A good way to assess the popularity of a store is to check its presence on social media. Which social media platforms do the store link to, how active are they on those platforms and how well do they interact with their customers there? Are there ‘only’ good customer testimonials on their website and on those platforms? You can also check for customer reviews and complaints on independent sites such as mouthshut.com, trustpilot.com, sitejabber.com, etc.
This is perhaps the biggest hurdle most of us have to online shopping. Does the store have multiple payment options? If they only accept online payments, the payment page should be secure with SSL technology (the payment page URL should begin with “https:” and not “http:”), to ensure that your information is encrypted and cannot be stolen during transmission.
- Shipping & other charges
Check if the store offers free shipping to your address. If not, make sure the shipping charges are clearly specified. Any additional charges or taxes, if applicable, should also be clarified upfront.
- Return, exchange & refund policies
A reliable store is one with customer-friendly policies for returns and exchanges and processes refunds quickly. Check the site’s stated policies and make sure you are satisfied with them.
- Contact us
How easy is it to reach out to the store with your queries? Are the customer service phone numbers and email IDs provided on the website? Are they responsive to phone calls and emails? A store that is easy to reach out to and is able to resolve your queries promptly and convincingly is probably one you can trust buying from!